North-polar Discoveries


Two days later, on the western horizon, they beheld the ocean.

Many of the streams whose sources they had seen when they crossed

the divide from the lake basin, and whose courses they had

followed, were now rivers a mile wide, with the tide ebbing and

rising within them many hundreds of miles from their mouths.

When they reached the shore line they found the waves breaking,

as on earth, upon the sands, but with this
ifference: they had

before noted the smallness of the undulations compared with the

strength of the wind, the result of the water's weight. These

waves now reminded them of the behaviour of mercury, or of melted

lead when stirred on earth, by the rapidity with which the crests

dropped. Though the wind was blowing an on-shore gale, there was

but little combing, and when there was any it lasted but a

second. The one effort of the crests and waves seemed to be to

remain at rest, or, if stirred in spite of themselves, to


When over the surface of the ocean, the voyagers rose to a height

of thirty thousand metres, and after twenty- four hours'

travelling saw, at a distance of about two hundred miles, what

looked like another continent, but which they knew must be an

island. On finding themselves above it, they rose still higher

to obtain a view of its outlines and compare its shape with that

of the islands in the photographs they had had time to develop.

The length ran from southeast to northwest. Though crossed by

latitude forty, and notwithstanding Jupiter's distance from the

sun, the southern side had a very luxuriant vegetation that was

almost semi-tropical. This they accounted for by its total

immunity from cold, the density of the air at sea-level, and the

warm moist breezes it received from the tepid ocean. The climate

was about the same as that of the Riviera or of Florida in

winter, and there was, of course, no parching summer.

"This shows me," said Bearwarden, "that a country's climate

depends less on the amount of heat it receives from the sun than

on the amount it retains; proof of which we have in the tops of

the Himalayas perpetually covered with snow, and snow-capped

mountains on the very equator, where they get the most direct

rays, and where those rays have but little air to penetrate. It

shows that the presence of a substantial atmosphere is as

necessary a part of the calculation in practice as the sun

itself. I am inclined to think that, with the constant effect of

the internal heat on its oceans and atmosphere, Jupiter could get

along with a good deal less solar heat than it receives, in proof

of which I expect to find the poles themselves quite comfortable.

The reason the internal heat is so little taken into account on

earth is because, from the thickness of the crust, it cannot make

itself felt; for if the earth were as chilled through as ice, the

people on the surface would not feel the difference."

A Jovian week's explorations disclosed the fact that though the

island's general outlines were fairly regular, it had deep-water

harbours, great rivers, and land-locked gulfs and bays, some of

which penetrated many hundred miles into the interior. It also

showed that the island's length was about six thousand miles, and

its breadth about three thousand, and that it had therefore about

the superficial area of Asia. They found no trace of the great

monsters that had been so numerous on the mainland, though there

were plenty of smaller and gentle-looking creatures, among them

animals whose build was much like that of the prehistoric horse,

with undeveloped toes on each side of the hoof, which in the

modern terrestrial horse have disappeared, the hoof being in

reality but a rounded-off middle finger.

"It is wonderful," said Bearwarden, "how comparatively narrow

a body of water can keep different species entirely separate.

The island of Sumatra, for instance, is inhabited by marsupials

belonging to the distinct Australian type, in which the female,

as in the kangaroo, carries the slightly developed young in a

pouch; while the Malay peninsula, joined to the mainland, has all

the highly developed animals of Asia and the connected land of

the Eastern hemisphere, the narrow Malacca Strait being all that

has kept marsupials and mammals apart, though the separating

power has been increased by the rapid current setting through.

This has decreased the chance of creatures carried to sea on

drift-wood or uprooted trees getting safely over to such a degree

that apparently none have survived; for, had they done so, we may

be certain that the mammals, with the advantage their young have

over the marsupials, would soon have run them out, the marsupials

being the older and the less perfect form of life of the two."

Before leaving the beautiful sea-girt region beneath them,

Cortlandt proposed that it be named after their host, which

Bearwarden seconded, whereupon they entered it as Ayrault Island

on the charts. After this they rose to a great height, and flew

swiftly over three thousand miles of ocean till they came to

another island not quite as large as the first. It was four

thousand five hundred miles long by something less than three

thousand wide, and was therefore about the size of Africa. It

had several high ranges of mountains and a number of great rivers

and fine harbours, while murmuring, bubbling brooks flowed

through its forest glades. There were active volcanoes along the

northern coast, and the blue, crimson, and purple lines in the

luxuriant foliage were the most beautiful they had ever seen.

"I propose," said Bearwarden, "that we christen this Sylvialand."

This Cortlandt immediately seconded, and it was so entered on the


"These two islands," said Bearwarden, "may become the centres of

civilization. With flying machines and cables to carry

passengers and information, and ships of great displacement for

the interchange of commodities, there is no limit to their

possible development. The absence of large waves will also be

very favourable to sea-spiders, which will be able to run at

tremendous speeds. The constancy in the eruptions of the

volcanoes will offer a great field to Jovian inventors, who will

unquestionably be able to utilize their heat for the production

of steam or electricity, to say nothing of an inexhaustible

supply of valuable chemicals. They may contain the means of

producing some force entirely different from apergy, and as

superior to electricity as that is to steam. Our earthly

volcanoes have been put to slight account because of the long

intervals between eruptions."

After leaving Sylvialand they went westward to the eastern of the

two crescent continents. It was separated from the island by

about six thousand miles of ocean, and had less width than the

western, having about the proportions of a three-day crescent,

while the western had the shape of the moon when four or five

days old. They found the height of the mountains and plateaus

somewhat less than on the eastern continent, but no great

difference in other respects, except that, as they went towards

the pole, the vegetation became more like that of Scotland or a

north temperate region than any they had seen. On reaching

latitude fifty they again came out over the ocean to investigate

the speckled condition they had observed there. They found a

vast archipelago covering as great an area as the whole Pacific

Ocean. The islands varied from the size of Borneo and Madagascar

to that of Sicily and Corsica, while some contained but a few

square miles. The surface of the archipelago was about equally

divided between land and water.

"It would take good navigation or an elaborate system of

light-houses," said Bearwarden, "for a captain to find the

shortest course through these groups."

The islands were covered with shade trees much resembling those

on earth, and the leaves on many were turning yellow and red, for

this hemisphere's autumn had already begun.

"The Jovian trees," said Cortlandt, "can never cease to bear,

though the change of seasons is evidently able to turn their

colour, perhaps by merely ripening them. When a ripe leaf falls

off, its place is doubtless soon taken by a bud, for germination

and fructification go on side by side."

Before leaving, they decided to name this Twentieth Century

Archipelago, since so much of the knowledge appertaining to it

had been acquired in their own day. At latitude sixty the

northern arms of the two continents came within fifteen hundred

miles of each other. The eastern extension was split like the

tail of a fish, the great bay formed thereby being filled with

islands, which also extended about half of the distance across.

The western extremity shelved very gradually, the sand-bars

running out for miles just below the surface of the water.

After this the travellers flew northward at great speed in the

upper regions of the air, for they were anxious to hasten their

journey. They found nothing but unbroken sea, and not till they

reached latitude eighty-seven was there a sign of ice. They then

saw some small bergs and field ice, but in no great quantities.

As their outside thermometer, when just above the placid

water--for there were no waves here--registered twenty- one

degrees Fahrenheit, they accounted for this scarcity of ice by

the absence of land on which fresh water could freeze, and by the

fact that it was not cold enough to congeal the very salt


Finally they reached another archipelago a few hundred miles in

extent, the larger islands of which were covered with a sheet of

ice, at the edges of which small icebergs were being formed by

breaking off and slowly floating. Finding a small island on

which the coating was thin, they grounded the Callisto, and

stepped out for the first time in several days. The air was so

still that a small piece of paper released at a height of six

feet sank slowly and went as straight as the string of a

plumb-line. The sun was bisected by the line of the horizon, and

appeared to be moving about them in a circle, with only its upper

half visible. As Jupiter's northern hemisphere was passing

through its autumnal equinox, they concluded they had landed

exactly at the pole.

"Now to work on our experiment," said Cortlandt. "I wonder how we

may best get below the frozen surface?"

"We can explode a small quantity of dynamite," replied

Bearwarden, "after which the digging will be comparatively easy."

While Cortlandt and Bearwarden prepared the mine, Ayrault brought

out a pickaxe, two shovels, and the battery and wires with which

to ignite the explosive. They made their preparations within one

hundred feet of the Callisto, or much nearer than an equivalent

amount of gunpowder could have been discharged.

"This recalls an old laboratory experiment, or rather lecture,"

said Cortlandt, as they completed the arrangements, "for the

illustration is not as a rule carried out. Explode two pounds of

powder on an iron safe in a room with the windows closed, and the

windows will be blown out, while the safe remains uninjured.

Explode an equivalent amount of dynamite on top of the safe, and

it will be destroyed, while the glass panes are not even cracked.

This illustrates the difference in rapidity with which the

explosions take place. To the intensely rapid action of dynamite

the air affords as much resistance as a solid substance, while

the explosion of the powder is so slow that the air has time to

move away; hence the destruction of the windows in the first

case, and the safe in the second."

When they had moved beyond the danger line, Bearwarden, as the

party's practising engineer, pressed the button, and the

explosion did the rest. They found that the ground was frozen to

a depth of but little more than a foot, below which it became

perceptibly warm. Plying their shovels vigorously, they had soon

dug the hole so deep that its edges were above their heads. When

the floor was ten feet below the surrounding level the

thermometer registered sixty.

"This is scarcely a fair test," said Cortlandt, "since the heat

rises and is lost as fast as given off. Let us therefore close

the opening and see in what time it will melt a number of cubic

feet of ice."

Accordingly they climbed out, threw in about a cart-load of ice,

and covered the opening with two of the Callisto's thick rugs.

In half an hour all the ice had melted, and in another half hour

the water was hot.

"No arctic expedition need freeze to death here," said

Bearwarden, "since all a man would have to do would be to burrow

a few feet to be as warm as toast."

As the island on which they had landed was at one side of the

archipelago, but was itself at the exact pole, it followed that

the centre of the archipelago was not the part farthest north.

This in a measure accounted for the slight thickness of ice and

snow, for the isobaric lines would slope, and consequently what

wind there was would flow towards the interior of the

archipelago, whose surface was colder than the surrounding ocean.

The moist air, however, coming almost entirely from the south,

would lose most of its moisture by condensation in passing over

the ice-laden land, and so, like the clouds over the region east

of the Andes, would have but little left to let fall on this

extreme northern part. The blanketing effect of a great

thickness of snow would also cause, the lower strata of ice to

melt, by keeping in the heat constantly given off by the warm


"I think there can be no question," said Cortlandt, "that, as a

result of Jupiter's great flattening at the poles and the drawing

of the crust, which moves faster in Jupiter's rotation than any

other part, towards the equator, the crust must be particularly

thin here; for, were it as thin all over, there would be no space

for the coal-beds, which, judging from the purity of the

atmosphere, must be very extensive. Further, we can recall that

the water in the hot spring near which we alighted, which

evidently came from a far greater depth than we have here, was

not as hot as this. The conclusion is clear that elsewhere the

internal heat is not as near the surface as here."

"The more I see of Jupiter," exclaimed Bearwarden

enthusiastically, "the more charmed I become. It almost exactly

supplies what I have been conjuring up as my idea of a perfect

planet. Its compensations of high land near the equator, and low

with effective internal heat at the poles, are ideal. The gradual

slope of its continental elevations, on account of their extent,

will ease the work of operating railways, and the atmosphere's

density will be just the thing for our flying machines, while

Nature has supplied all sources of power so lavishly that no

undertaking will be too great. Though land as yet, to judge by

our photographs, occupies only about one eighth of the surface,

we know, from the experience of the other planets, that this is

bound to increase; so that, if the human race can perpetuate

itself on Jupiter long enough, it will undoubtedly have one

fourth or a larger proportion for occupation, though the land

already upheaved comprises fully forty times the area of our

entire globe, which, as we know, is still three-fourths water."

"Since we have reached what we might call the end of Jupiter, and

still have time, continued Ayrault, "let us proceed to Saturn,

where we may find even stranger things than here. I hoped we

could investigate the great red spot, but am convinced we have

seen the beginning of one in Twentieth Century Archipelago, and

what, under favourable conditions, will be recognized as such on


It was just six terrestrial weeks since they had set out, and

therefore February 2d on earth.

"It would be best, in any case, to start from Jupiter's equator,"

said Cortlandt, "for the straight line we should make from the

surface here would be at right angles to Saturn. We shall

probably, in spite of ourselves, swing a few degrees beyond the

line, and so can get a bird's-eye view of some portion of the

southern hemisphere."

"All aboard for Saturn!" cried Bearwarden enthusiastically, in

his jovial way. "This will be a journey."